Do I have to go to court?
It depends on the type of ticket. The general rule is that you only have to appear in court for violations that come with possible jail time if you're convicted. Such violations include driving with a suspended license and DUIs. If the violation does not carry possible jail time -- such as failing to stop at a stop sign -- then you're probably not required to appear. There are exceptions, so read your ticket carefully. And if you have questions, contact the clerk of the court listed on your ticket.
Do I need an attorney?
Maybe. If your violation can lead to jail time, you should have an attorney. For a more minor offense, you may want an attorney if it's your second ticket in a year. An experienced traffic attorney can help you avoid jail time or keep your driving record clean. If you have questions about whether you need an attorney, it's better to be safe than sorry. It doesn't hurt to call and get some advice. Lake County is a small legal community, where many of the attorneys, judges and prosecutors know each other. Look for a local attorney with a good reputation.
Where is traffic court?
In Lake County, there are a few different locations that handle traffic violations. The main courthouse in Waukegan handles felonies, misdemeanors and DUIs. There are four branch courts that handle traffic tickets. These are located in Park City, Mundelein, Round Lake, and at a second location in Waukegan. If your violation requires a court appearance, the location should be on your ticket. If you have questions, contact the court clerk. Do not miss your court date - it could result in a warrant for your arrest.
Will my ticket be on my driving record?
If you simply pay the fine by mail, you are pleading guilty and the ticket will be on your record. In many cases, you can request traffic school and get court supervision. If you complete the class and don't get any other tickets for three months, the violation will not be on your record. You also have the option of pleading not guilty and requesting a court appearance. If you are convicted, the violation will be on your record. If you are found not guilty, the violation will not be on your record.